Freedom App Review (2020)

You’re surrounded by more distractions than at any other point in human history.

Your phone pings, buzzes and bleeps.

Push notifications barge their way onto your screen.

And your email inbox is constantly trying to take your attention away from actual work.

So finding a way to block these distractions is something 90% of people need so that they can stay productive.

That goes double for people who work for themselves.

Because it’s that or delete your social media accounts.

After all, the average person spends 2 – 3 hours per day on social media.

Achieving absolutely nothing of value.

And once distracted it can take up to 23 minutes for your brain to settle back into a flow state.

If you’re lucky.

I’ve tested a number of different focus apps over the years to block distracting websites.

And after one disappointment after another I finally found one that works.

Introducing the Freedom app.

Freedom is a distraction blocking/focus app for PC, Mac, tablet, and smartphone.

This means you can block apps and websites across multiple devices.

It even works on Linux and ChromeOS via the Freedom extension for the Chrome browser.

Okay, not everyone wants to use Chrome (and I get why) but at least you have the option of using Freedom if you want to.

So it’s also not as restrictive as say Focus, which is only available for macOS.

It’s also extremely affordable, but we cover that in more detail a little later.

What can it block?

So, your standard distraction blocking apps will limit what websites you can visit.

Freedom does this via a system called blocklists:

You can choose to simply ‘Block All Websites’ or use a pre-defined list like my ‘Social’ blocklist.

  1. You can block entire categories of websites such as ‘Shopping’, ‘Dating’, and ‘Politics.
  2. Or you can simply block individual websites.

I used the second option because it allows me more…Freedom.

See how that works?

You can add a device to your account by clicking on ‘Add a device’:

So, all your Internet blocking is taken care of with just one or two clicks of a mouse.

But can also block specific desktop app, which is great news for all the email inbox junkies reading this.

You know who you are – you drop everything the split second an email notification appears on your screen.

And then emerge an hour later “frustrated that you’re behind schedule.”

No shit, Sherlock.

And speaking of schedules, you can also set up recurring blocked out times of your day:

Easy peasy.

Anyways, Freedom app blocking works in much the same way as their Internet blocking does.

First you need to set up what apps you want to block by clicking ‘Manage Blocked Desktop Apps’:

Then tick the boxes for the apps you want to block:

Just make sure the app you want to block is actually active when you use this feature e.g. Outlook or Thunderbird.

And then simply start your blocking session.

Which we cover next.

Blocking sites and apps

Blocking sites or apps with Freedom is as straightforward as you could want it to be.

It to each chunk of blocking as a “session”.

Sessions can be preset (25 minutes to 2 hours), custom or even scheduled:

I typically block everything out for an hour on good days, or 2 hours when I really kneed to knuckle down and get stuff done.

What if you accidentally start a session blocking sites you genuinely need?

Well you can pause the Freedom session if you like, or login to the website interface and unblock a specific website.

They do offer a ‘Locked Mode’ though for the hardcore types who don’t want to be able to quit.

Just use that wisely, especially if you typically use blocking sessions that are longer than 2 hours.

Believe me, there’s nothing worse than blocking things out in ‘Locked Mode’ only to realize you’ve used the wrong list and now have to find something else to do for the next 4 hours.

Not good.

What happens if you “accidentally” open one of your blocked sites?

You’re greeted with a friendly message from Freedom:

I actually smile when this appears because it means I’ve gotten distracted and almost ghosted over to Facebook or YouTube.

So I know Freedom just saved me at least 35 minutes of wasted time.

Using Freedom

What I love about Freedom is that it doesn’t get in my way until I specifically want it to.

And when I do want to start a session it takes me three clicks and then I can forget about it until it notifies me that my session is done.

There’s no complicated web-based interface, or having to leave a browser window open.

Or constant crashes.

Or any of the other crap I’ve had to put up with when using other focus apps or distraction blockers.

I’ve seen several people complain that Freedom doesn’t have a Pomodoro feature.

Which seems like a weird complaint for two reasons:

  1. It’s not a Pomodoro tool
  2. It’s default time setting is 25-minutes

But during periods when I need complete and total concentration I simply run Freedom first and then start my free Pomotodo timer.

And that solution works perfectly.

The Freedom productivity app is also regularly updated, and the neat thing is that the updates are pretty much automatics, so there’s very little thought required on your part.

Bonus Feature

I have to be 100% honest here, I only found this feature while putting together this review.

Even though it’s probably been there for years.

It’s a set of ‘Focus sounds’:

This is a playlist of background noises that you can play while you’re working.

These are split into three main categories: offices, nature and coffee shops.

Now, I typically use a Spotify playlist of movie soundtracks, but I tested the ‘Coffee shop’ sounds today and it was oddly relaxing.

It also managed to keep me focused.

So these are ideal maybe for people who need background noise to help them keep on track.

The only downside is that you have to run the focus sounds from an active web browser window.

What it costs

Freedom, alas, is not free.

You can give it a test drive for 7 days thanks to their free trial.

But you have to pay for it after that:

So at worst you can try it for an entire month for just $6.99.

And that’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than something like focus which costs $19 per month for the basic version.

Now the other thing is that you can get an entire year of Freedom for just $29, or $2.42 per month

To be honest, I forgot I was on a monthly subscription until today…so upgraded to an annual plan while writing this.

So choosing the annual subscription saves you (and me) $83 per year.

Oh and Freedom comes with a whole pile of “Perks” in the form of discounts or extended free trials for a whole variety of tools and services ideal for creative types.

That’s really just the icing on the cake though.

Pros

  • Is a combined website blocker and app blocker
  • Anyone can use this app – it’s that intuitive
  • Productivity sessions can be tailored to your exact needs
  • Doesn’t slow your device down after installation
  • Works across multiple devices and Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS
  • Far more affordable than most other app blockers

Cons

  • Freedom does experience the odd toolbar crash – but it doesn’t actually kill the process.
  • Focus sounds feature is only available via a web browser.

Wrapping it up

If I sound like a bit of a Freedom fanboy, it’s because I totally am – I use Freedom every day to block distractions.

When I spend money on tools I expect them to get the job done and without causing me any further headaches.

Especially productivity tools.

How effective is it?

A large project that would normally take 10 hours of my day can be completed in half the time.

And all by simply blocking out distractions from apps and websites that don’t actually make me any money.

So I really do hope you find Freedom as useful as I have, and this review along with that.

How To Get Rid Of The Coffee Jitters

the coffee jitters

I get irritable without my morning cup of coffee.

If you’re like me…you become unbearable.

But when you work from home/for yourself, grabbing your morning cuppa Joe is just part of your daily routine.

And you’re drinking coffee from your favourite mug.

The downside is when I chug too many cups of coffee in too few hours.

That ruins my day because I can’t focus on anything, I can’t type because my hands are shaking worse than a politician trying to tell the truth, and my heart feels like it’s trying to escape from my chest.

I’ve lost entire days to the jitters.

But I’ve learned from my mistakes.

So let’s take a look at how to counteract caffeine when you overdo things.

Why does coffee make me shaky?

Because caffeine is a stimulant.

A really delicious one.

In fact, if coffee tasted like shit we wouldn’t be having this conversation, now would we?

But at a chemical level it also does this thing called binding to your nerve receptors preventing this other chemical called adenosine from keeping you calm.

All of this screws up your adrenaline levels.

So your body is basically in fight-or-flight mode, which is why you not only start shaking but can also feel pretty high levels of anxiety at the same time.

What are the symptoms?

These vary from person to person, but what you can typically expect to feel when you drink more than a healthy amount of coffee includes:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Sick stomach
  • Headache
  • Increase blood pressure
  • Feeling dizzy

Somebody else actually listed insomnia as a symptom!

Yes, you’ll have difficulty sleeping or resting when you blood type is “Dark Roast”.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can take the edge the effects of caffeine.

The dreaded jitters.

via GIPHY

Getting Rid of the Coffee Jitters

So now let’s look at how to get caffeine out of your system…after yet another uncontrolled, and instantly regretted, coffee binge?

Drink decaf

Well yes, you could. And decaffeinated coffee isn’t terrible…but it’s like non-alcoholic beer – you only ever really drink it by accident.

On a serious note, if you simply can’t control your coffee consumption, then maybe switching to decaff is an option.

Give it time

If you wait long enough the caffeine will eventually flush itself from your system.

How long do you need to wait for that nervous energy to go away?

It can take anywhere up to 6 hours before you start feeling normal again.

Plus, sitting around when you’re on a caffeine high isn’t always easy because your mind and heart are racing.

Exercise

Now, here’s an interesting idea – go for a run, do push-ups and squats, lift some weights, or work out on a bag.

Why?

Because, allegedly, doing that helps your body to metabolize the caffeine way quicker.

This makes sense when you think about it because most pre-workout drinks contain lots of caffeine.

And one of the “effects” of caffeine is a ton of short-term energy.

Obviously, please monitor your heart rate because if it’s already elevated you don’t want to push that into a dangerous area.

Eat Something

You know when you’re having a crazy busy day, so you’re 3 coffees in before you even eat lunch?

And then you forget to eat lunch.

By 2pm you have 2 litres of raw coffee swishing around in your gut, but no food.

That’s a really quick way to get coffee jitters.

So the simple solution here is to eat something nutritious, ideally containing a reasonable amount of healthy carbs.

Drink Water

This is my personal favorite tip, and besides exercise, the only way I’ve found that actually helps me.

Drink water.

Here’s why drinking water is a great way to deal with the coffee shakes.

Firstly, coffee acts as a diuretic, so you’ll pee a lot.

And when you pee enough you’ll become dehydrated.

Then when you combine the effects of dehydration with a large dose of caffeine you get an incredibly unsettling feeling in your entire body.

Plus nausea and a headache thrown in for good measure.

Any time I’ve gone overboard with coffee consumption, sipping 2 liters of water over the space of about 30 minutes has worked for me.

It’s not a cure for the jitters but drinking water really, really helps take the edge off.

L-Theanine

Now, here we’re going to get into a supplement you can take to specifically help with the side effects of drinking tons of coffee.

It basically allows you to keep the mental clarity of a coffee buzz, but without feeling like you’re coming undone at the seams.

So, kinda like the movie Limitless…but without the Russian gangsters and awful side effects.

This amino acid is readily available over the counter from your local pharmacist, or from any health store.

It’s that safe.

Or, you could simply buy some coffee that’s already had L-Theanine added to it.

Kimera Coffee is what you’re looking for in that case.

What Probably Won’t Help

There’s lots of advice on how to get rid of the coffee jitters doing the rounds.

Here’s a few that I’m not really convinced by.

Actually, one of them is hilarious.

Herbal tea

Some people suggest drinking a herbal tea to help with the jitters.

But tea contains caffeine too, so that’s like throwing gasoline on a smouldering fire to douse the flames.

I’m not dissing herbal teas here, but I’m pretty sure any relief you’ll feel from drinking a cup of chamomile tea is similar to a placebo.

And that goes double if it’s decaffeinated tea.

Take a nap

I’m not sure who came up with this one, but it’s funny as hell.

Have you ever tried to take a nap while wired on caffeine?

It’s literally impossible.

You can hear grass growing outside your house, for God’s sake.

Vitamin C

The theory here is that Vitamin C, like eating an orange, can help reduce the impact of the caffeine jitters, but there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence why it would work.

Plus, oranges are acidic so you’d be pouring more acid into the pool of acidic coffee in your stomach.

Can Vitamin C help with the caffeine jitters?

I haven’t tried this so can’t vouch for it.

Don’t drink as much coffee

That’s quitters talk right there. Pfffft, what else am I meant to do with my life?

But moderation is sensible, to be fair.

The End

So there you have it – an in-depth look at how to get rid of the coffee jitters.

Which is probably quite a relief for the coffee fans reading this.

Drinking coffee is one of my favourite things to do while I’m working, or even just when I’m chilling out reading a book.

But it’s all too easy to have that cup too many.

At least now you have several ways of dealing with the jitters if they do sneak up on you.

Coffee Jitters FAQ

How long do coffee jitters last?

The coffee jitters last anywhere up to about 6 hours depending on how many cups of delicious coffee you’ve consumed.

Is drinking too much caffeine harmful?

Yes, drinking too much caffeine over the long-term can lead to a variety of health problems.

But I’ll tell you what a doctor told a close friend when he complained about suffering from insomnia.

After questioning him the doctor found out my friend was drinking 12 cups of coffee per day.

Every single day.

The doctor put it to him bluntly, “Cut back or you’re going to have a heart attack.”

How much coffee is too much?

How much coffee you can drink without getting jittery will be down to the strength of the coffee, your body mass, your current hydration level, and your general health.

But if you drink 6 double espressos in 4 hours, you’re going to feel the effects of that.

P.S. If you enjoyed this content don’t forget to share it on social media – there are lots of other people who want to know how to get rid of the coffee jitters, too!